Green Book Fairies #21: Let’s Talk About… Entertaining!

Today’s #GreenBookFairies are looking at green ways to entertain at home – remember when we used to do that before the lockdown?!

Let’s Talk About… Entertaining!

The problem:

Plastic utensils, straws and disposable plates can take up to a thousand years to decompose. We don’t think it’s worth all that for just an hour of use! Flowers for dinners, weddings and other occasions often travel far to the store. Let’s not forget to mention balloons… they are the single most found item in marine plastic waste. And, the food we choose for our entertaining can be a big contributor to our plastic consumption. When it comes to kids’ parties, there can be so much waste – disposable cups and plates, plastic table cloths, balloons, plastic gifts in plastic party bags…

The solutions:

You just need to think about sensible swaps for each thing! Remember that people go to a party to see other people – and this is even more true with kids. Anything else you do is a bonus 🙂

  • Decorate! Replace balloons and flowers with pin-wheels, kites, secondhand ribbons, plants, reusable banners and fabric bunting. For your table, use sheets or blankets for tablecloths, as well as empty bottles for candlesticks – a boho chic masterpiece!
  • Eat and be merry! Choose reusable platters of finger foods with cloth napkins. But, if your party calls for cutlery and dishes, try compostable bamboo options or just normal cutlery. Some people who entertain often have spare dishes, glasses and cutlery. You can find these in thrift stores! 
  • Shop local! See what’s fresh and what’s close…and then figure out how you can use that particular food for the event – not the other way around! That will cut down on carbon emissions and plastic containers.
  • Fun for kids! Switch to paper party bags (even just brown ones which you add stickers and ribbon to!), eco party fillers like home made biscuits and wooden or paper gifts. Make a digital invitation and send via email or WhatsApp to the parents! You can make your own games out of recycled material and choose eco friendly face paint! Use paper cups – or push the boat out and get everyone a collapsible reusable cup they can take home!

Fairy verdict:

“The last party I gave before lockdowns started was for my extended family at Christmastime. I have ten nieces and nephews on top of my own three children. I wanted to make everyone feel special with some kind of gift but also keep my environmental footprint small. Their gifts were in the decor. It went over well, even with the smaller kids. Using my own tablecloths and napkins, I did not worry about colour schemes or matching. The more colour the better. I used my own Nativity scenes as table centrepieces, as well as some trees I hand-painted and decoupaged as gifts to my sisters. The kids’ table got the broken crèche as their centrepiece which was perfect because it was handled a lot during that meal. I decorated the chandeliers with homemade Christmas ornaments that each of the 20 people in my family got to take home at the end of the meal. The food was potluck. It was a perfect night.”

– Katherine, Toronto

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